FARGO — A new restaurant slated to open in October at the West Acres Mall needs about 100 employees to run efficiently, but management says a tight labor market and seasonal hiring by big businesses has made it difficult to fill positions.
Crave American Kitchen & Sushi Bar has hired 10 people so far and is trying to fill more positions before its grand opening next month.
"I've been doing this with Crave for 10 years and we used to be able to get 1,000 applications," said Training and Culture Manager Blayne Ohman. "We could say in an orientation: 'for every one person here, 10 people aren't.' We can't say that anymore."
Crave staff members are recruiting online, going to job fairs and searching at schools, but management said the restaurant has only gotten 40 applications so far.
General Manager John McDonald said one reason the restaurant has been having difficulty recruiting workers is the low unemployment rate. Ten years ago the national unemployment rate reached 10%, but after steadily dropping for a decade the rate stood at 3.7% in August.
"When you look at unemployment in general and particularly in the restaurant business it's getting close to zero," McDonald said. "People are moving from place to place."
McDonald said another reason restaurants are having difficulty recruiting workers is that big businesses like Target, UPS and Amazon are hiring tens of thousands of seasonal workers as they gear up for the holiday shopping season.
Crave management said no restaurant experience is required to apply as it puts all of its employees through a two-week training course.
Anyone interested in working at the restaurant can apply on this website.